Places & Things
To the dismay of many retailers in London, Halloween is not a big holiday in the UK. Rather than enjoying an Autumn night wandering from house to house in search of candy, the Brits prefer to set things alight. Now Bonfire Night isn't so much one night but almost two weeks of constant bangs and flashes as people, in various states of inebriation, light fireworks and bonfires all over the city. Why such a dangerous yearly event? Because of Guy Fawkes, of course.
Guy Fawkes was an Englishman who, according to popular legend, tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament with barrels of gunpowder in 1605. He and the co-conspirators in the "Gunpowder Plot" succeeded in smuggling several barrels of gunpowder into the basement, but were foiled at the eleventh hour. Some of the plotters escaped, some turned King's Evidence and reported on the rest, but the unlucky Fawkes was taken in chains to the Tower of London and hanged. After which, he was drawn through the streets of London behind a horse cart and then chopped into 'quarters'. The charge was treason, though some people in England prefer to remember Guy as "the only man ever to enter Parliament with honest intentions."